Department: Health & Environment
Release Date: Jul 18, 2014
The confirmed diagnosis of Tularemia in four wild rabbits in Fort Collins, as well as a confirmed human case in Broomfield, has prompted the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment to remind residents to take certain precautions against the bacterial infection.
Residents are advised that tularemia-causing bacteria is present in some local mammals -- especially rabbits and hares. Larimer County residents have noticed a die-off of rabbits in some areas over the past few weeks.
Tularemia is a bacterial infection most commonly transmitted to humans that have handled infected animals. Infection can also arise from the bite of infected insects (most commonly ticks and deer flies), by exposure to contaminated food, water, or soil by eating, drinking, or direct contact with breaks in the skin, and less commonly, by inhaling aerosolized particles carrying the bacteria (through mowing or blowing vegetation).
Typical signs of infection in humans are fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, chest pain, and coughing. If tularemia is caused by the bite of an infected insect or from bacteria entering a cut or scratch, it usually causes a skin ulcer and swollen glands. Eating or drinking food or water containing the bacteria may produce a throat infection, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Tularemia can be effectively treated with antibiotics, therefore should you have any of these early signs, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
What to do If you see a dead animal:
• If you suspect an animal might be sick, infectious, or has died of unknown causes, DO NOT TOUCH IT!
• If you find or observe more than one animal (in the same area) that has died or is sick, call the Health Department at 970-498-6775. On weekends or holidays, Call Animal Control for assistance. 970-226-3647
• NOTE!!! NOT ALL ANIMALS will be picked up and/or tested. Once it is established that tularemia is present in an area, testing more animals is not helpful. If you live in an area where Tularemia has been confirmed, follow prevention precautions with your family and your pets.
Steps people can take to prevent human tularemia:
If you need to remove a dead animal
For more information on Tularemia, visit www.cdc.gov/Tularemia